In the day's first semifinal, Kentucky put a whoopin' on Tennessee to the tune of 74-45. DeMarcus Cousins, after being practically nonexistent yesterday, led Kentucky with 19 points and 15 rebounds. The other big name freshmen were right there with him, as Eric Bledsoe had 17 and John Wall put up a modest (for him) 14 points along with nine assists. As a team, Kentucky shot a spirited 52.1 percent from the floor, though that's just two percentage points below its free throw rate.
It was a close game to start out with, but UK held Tennessee to just two points scored in the final six minutes of the first half. The Vols would never get closer than within six points the entire second half, and this game is the first time this year that UT has been held below 50 points. Scotty Hopson was the only one in orange to get into double figures, as he had 11. No one for Tennessee managed more than five rebounds as the 'Cats dominated the boards to the tune of 40-26.
In the later game, Mississippi State upset Vanderbilt 62-52 to secure a place in the finals. Barry Stewart led the Bulldogs in scoring for the second straight day, putting up 14 points to go along with eight rebounds. Jarvis Varnado had a line you'll only see from him with 11 points, nine boards, and six blocks, while Dee Bost chipped in 11 points of his own.
As the score would indicate, neither team broke 40 percent shooting from the field. The first half was close with State leading throughout, but the West top seed went on an 11-2 run to begin the second half. Vanderbilt would catch up, but scoring just a single point from the five minute mark to the one minute mark did the Commodores in. Just like Tennessee, Vanderbilt had only one player in double figures. That was Jermaine Beal with 11, though Jeffery Taylor and Brad Tinsley came close with nine apiece.
This will be the first time since 2003 that the top seeds from each division face each other in the tournament final when, coincidentally, Kentucky played Mississippi State. MSU is still somewhat alive for an at-large bid to the Big Dance, but with all the bubble carnage of the day, the Bulldogs can only be safe by knocking off the Wildcats.